Press release: DAFNE Members appoint new Board of Directors

DAFNE members have elected a new Board of Directors at their General Assembly meeting on 18 January 2019 in Dublin. Since 2006 DAFNE had been operating as an informal network of donors and foundations networks across Europe. With the registration as a legal entity in Belgium as an “aisbl” in October 2018 DAFNE turned a new chapter: it now unites 27 national associations and networks of donors in Europe. DAFNE is a leading voice of European foundations. It underpins individual activities of its members by encouraging dialogue and collaboration between the national associations, and serves as a unique platform for peer-learning exchange and capacity building. 

DAFNE’s Board of Directors now includes as Chair Felix Oldenburg, Director General of the Association of German Foundations, as Vice-Chair Magdalena Pękacka, Executive Director of the Polish Donors Forum, as Treasurer Beate Eckhardt, CEO of SwissFoundations and as Board Member Carola Carazzone, CEO of Assifero, Italy. Carola succeeds Beatrice de Durfort who stepped down from her position as Executive Director of the French Foundations Centre. The Board Chair and Board Members have been elected for the term of two years, with the Treasurer being elected for a term of three years. 

The DAFNE Board is responsible for making policy and activity proposals to the membership, setting the agenda for the ongoing year and overseeing the implementation of a work programme, overseeing and monitoring the DAFNE budget as well as supervising the Executive Director. 

After his re-election as DAFNE Chair, Felix Oldenburg noticed: “European philanthropy has a long history of giving and a great diversity of national traditions, cultures and legal norms. DAFNE represents this diversity, as it unites today 27 national associations of donors and foundations with their collective membership of more than 10,000 donors and foundations. European foundations contribute billions of euros each year to social, cultural and educational causes. The potential of institutional philanthropy is even greater. We call for a European Single Market for Philanthropy to unlock this potential and to facilitate cross-border collaboration in Europe.”


Learn more about the new Board of Directors of DAFNE: 

Felix Oldenburg is Director General of the Association of German Foundations. He studied philosophy, politics and music at the universities of Bonn, Tübingen and Oxford and holds a postgraduate degree in Policy and Non-Profit-management from Georgetown University. From 2000 to 2002 he worked at McKinsey & Company in London as strategy consultant. Felix Oldenburg was Managing Director of Ashoka Europe for seven years before joining the Association of German Foundations in April 2016. He currently serves on the Board of Amnesty International Germany. 

Magdalena Pękacka has been Executive Director of Polish Donors Forum since 2006, the country’s only platform for emerging private donors. She holds a Master of Sociology in NGO Management from the Institute of Applied Social Science at Warsaw University. In 2018 she was a Senior Fellow with the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at the City University of New York. Her main areas of expertise are foundation management, data and research as well as legal and fiscal environment. She initiated and ran several programmes aimed to increase organisational philanthropy in Poland and contributed to the development of a more favourable legal environment for the operation of NGOs. 

Beate Eckhardt has been heading SwissFoundations as Managing Director since 2005. SwissFoundations is one of the founding members of DAFNE. Beate Eckhardt studied German linguistics and literature as well as social and economic history at Zurich University. She acquired an Executive Master of Science in Communications Management from the University of Lugano and UCLA. Prior to assuming the management of SwissFoundations, she worked as a freelance communication and project manager, specialising in the fields of education, culture and architecture as well as urban development. In her honorary capacity she serves as Board Member of Swiss public-benefit Association (SGG), of the Neumarkt Theatre in Zurich as well as Member of the Zurich Philanthropy Roundtable. 

Carola Carazzone is Secretary General of Assifero, the Italian national membership association of grant-making foundations, since 2014. She moved to the philanthropy sector after fifteen-year professional experience in 18 countries, working with civil society for the promotion and protection of human rights, at both national and international level. She is an Italian lawyer specialised in human rights at the René Cassin International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg. She serves as Advisory Board Member of Ariadne, the European network of funders for social change and human rights, as Member of the Experts’ Reflection Group of ECFI, European Community Foundations Initiative, and as Member of the Alliance Magazine Editorial Board.


Learn more about DAFNE: 

DAFNE ( is Europe’s largest network of donors and foundations associations. With 27 member associations with a collective membership of more than 10,000 foundations and grant-makers, DAFNE is a leading voice of European foundations. It underpins individual activities of its members by encouraging dialogue and collaboration between the national associations. 



Max von Abendroth, DAFNE Executive Director,